House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) on Thursday said he believes President Trump would take the right steps if a foreign entity offered him damaging information on a political opponent.
“I’ve watched this president. I’ve listened to this president. He does not want foreign governments interfering in our election. He’s been very strong about that,” McCarthy said. “He’s been so strong against Russia.”
“I believe the president would always do the right action,” McCarthy added.
Trump set off a political firestorm Wednesday when he told ABC News he would have no problem listening to damaging information about a political opponent from a foreign entity.
McCarthy, one of Trump’s closest allies on Capitol Hill, spent much of Thursday’s 12-minute news conference trying to defend the president amid aggressive questions from reporters about whether he believed such an action was wrong, unethical or illegal.
At one point, McCarthy noted that he would go to the FBI if he received intelligence on an opponent from a foreign entity.
“I would send it to the authorities. Yes,” McCarthy told reporters during a contentious press conference in the Capitol.
Trump told ABC News that he may not call the FBI in such a situation, even though the FBI has said that notifying the agency would be the right protocol.
Moments earlier in the same room, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Trump’s remarks are inviting further interference in U.S. elections by foreign governments. She said Trump has no understanding of right and wrong.
“There is no ethical sense that informs his comments and his thinking,” Pelosi said.
McCarthy repeatedly tried to turn the tables on the Democrats by referencing Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer who compiled the dossier containing salacious information about then-candidate Trump.
Trump, McCarthy and other Republicans have accused the FBI of improperly obtaining a warrant that helped bolster the investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia.
“When they could not find it, they made it up. And then they utilized our own FBI to go after Americans by using a FISA court with false information that … they paid for. That is not a hypothetical; that is what took place in this country,” McCarthy said. “What did they find? … No collusion and no obstruction … Where is the outrage there?”
Per: The Hill